I think of myself. I'm a mom. I really, really want to be a good mom.
As mothers, I think what we may need most is encouragement. Yes, at times we need more motivation. We need practical ideas on a daily basis on how to parent these kids God has given us! We need ENERGY. Yes, we need lots of help. But mostly, we need encouragement. If you can't give another mother anything else, then please give her the gift of a kind, encouraging word. That's a powerful gift. In my own little way, I hope I can encourage some mothers out there this morning with my thoughts.
Sometimes when I'm thinking about motherhood, my mind immediately goes to the Bible and the many examples of motherhood we see in it. There are so many wonderful mothers...Hannah, Jochebed, Rahab, Mary the mother of Jesus, Sarah, Elizabeth.
But I think the mother that is the most fascinating of all to me is Eve. Mother of all Living. What an amazing title to hold! The very first mother. And while maybe you've never seen her in a positive light, I want you to try to put yourself in her shoes. Imagine what it must have been like to see and experience the things she did. Imagine what her life as a mother would have been like.
You see, if there's any mom I can really relate to, it's Eve. Eve knew what it was like to fail. She sinned and her choice affected all living things. I don't know what it was like before the Fall, but I can imagine. Everything was perfect. Beautiful. Peaceful. There was no pain or sorrow or fear. There was unbroken fellowship with the Creator God! Imagine having all that. And then choosing to give it all up for a piece of fruit? But it wasn't that simple, was it? And if we're honest with ourselves, we know that we each would have made the same choice. Because we are not God. We cannot maintain perfection, even if created that way.
But what I really want you to grasp is the life Eve led after the Fall. Imagine her guilt. Her shame. (That's pretty easy to do, right?) Imagine what it was like to leave her home in the garden and walk out into the sin-affected world as we know it today. Perhaps she immediately stepped on a thorny weed and felt pain for the first time. Think about what it would have felt like to see her husband go off to work each day. He worked hard now to provide for them. She worked hard too.
Imagine being the first woman to ever experience the pain of childbirth. Like all moms, I'm sure she felt the fear of danger for her children. The animals, the beautiful animals that she once loved to be near, were now dangerous. The fear of harm was real now. I mean everything we experience now, she was the first to experience! It's so fascinating to think about.
Eve knew what it meant to struggle as a mom. She knew what it was like to be exhausted. Maybe she questioned her decisions. Was she raising her children right? Was she doing enough? How should she handle this situation with Cain or that situation with Abel? And then, to be the first mother to experience the death of a child. Oh, how horrifying. And to know the death was caused by your other child. I can't imagine.
I share all of this to show that Eve faced the same things we face today. She understood the difficulty of motherhood. And she understood that her sin had been the initial cause. We don't know what we are missing because our world has always been affected by sin. She knew. I just really can't imagine the hardship of what she faced. Mostly, she realized the effect sin had on her once unbroken relationship with God. That was probably the hardest thing to face.
But now this is the most powerful thought of all. Eve experienced redemption. If there was anything that she clung too as she faced the daily effects of sin, it was grace. God's unfailing grace.
To me, Eve's story is not about failing. It's not about mistakes. Imperfections. Hopelessness. Oh, no! It's about God's unfailing goodness! It's about His love and mercy. Her story is the first to show how God provides redemption to each of us! Because immediately God provided coverings of animal skins for Eve and her husband Adam. And that was a picture of the provision He made for all of us through Jesus Christ.
I share this with you, dear mother, because this truly is the big picture! If you're feeling discouraged by the struggles of motherhood, God's love is there for you. If you feel lonely, God is right there with you. If you're going through something so painful that you can barely breath, God's grace will cover you. If you feel weak or afraid, God's might and power will strengthen you! If you see areas in your life that need changing, my friend, God's redemption is life-changing!
Your story as a mom is not about failures or mistakes. Neither is mine. Be encouraged! Have hope! Your story as a mom is all about victory! It's about changing lives! It's about love and sacrifice. Not yours, but the love and sacrifice of Jesus which covers you over completely!
I love that parenthood is one of the ways God teaches us about Himself and His love. Being a mom for the first time, you realize the intense love you have for your child. It's a love you've never experienced before. You know that you will do anything, even die, for your child because you love him or her that much. This is but a very small glimpse into the heart of our Father God. If you feel love for your children, then rest assured that He feels that same love for you to an infinite degree (John 3:16). If you think about your child on a daily basis, then rest assured that God thinks precious thoughts about you each second of the day (Psalm 139:17). If you want to bless your child with good things, then know that God desires the same for you (James 1:17, Jeremiah 29:11). If you love your child even though he makes mistakes, then realize with amazement that God's love for you is not based on your performance (Psalm 103:12).
One final thought for you this Mother's Day. This is a thought my dad gave me a few weeks ago when we were having a discussion one day. The Bible says that Jesus is full of grace (John 1:14-17). My dad wanted me to get the picture of a cup full of water fixed in my mind. He said, "Audrey, if you have a cup that is full of water, when you pour it out on something, what comes out?" Well, um, duh. Dad, water comes out. "Exactly!" he said. "And the same is true with Jesus Christ. If Jesus is full of grace, then what comes out of him, that which he pours out onto us, is all grace. Everything he does for us is based in grace. He can't pour out anything but what he has in him. And he's full of grace!"
Wow! What an amazing thought. A wonderful thought for us moms!
Be encouraged this Mother's Day, dear mother. You are loved and your life is the ministry of the grace of Jesus Christ. That's the big picture. That's what motherhood is all about.